- ---- by Felicity J.ColmanWatch me: affection is the intensity of colour in a sunset on a dry and cold autumn evening. Kiss me: affect is that indescribable moment before the registration of the audible, visual, and tactile transformations produced in reaction to a certain situation, event, or thing. Run away from me: affected are the bodies of spectres when their space is disturbed. In all these situations, affect is an independent thing; sometimes described in terms of the expression of an emotion or physiological effect, but according to Deleuze, the affect is a transitory thought or thing that occurs prior to an idea or perception.Affect is the change, or variation, that occurs when bodies collide, or come into contact. As a body, affect is the transitional product of an encounter, specific in its ethical and lived dimensions and yet it is also as indefinite as the experience of a sunset, transformation, or ghost. In its largest sense, affect is part of the Deleuzian project of trying-tounderstand, and comprehend, and express all of the incredible, wondrous, tragic, painful, and destructive configurations of things and bodies as temporally mediated, continuous events. Deleuze uses the term 'affection' to refer to the additive processes, forces, powers, and expressions of change - the mix of affects that produce a modification or transformation in the affected body.There are distinctions to be noted in the use of the idea of 'affect'. In philosophy, the word affect is used to signal physical, spiritual, cognitive, and intellectual processes and states. This form of affect is addressed in the context of issues such as life and death; emotions such as pleasure, pain, boredom; attitudes such as fatalism and scepticism, legal states such as justice and obligations (Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger). In psychology, the term affect is used to attribute emotional corporeal and psychological reactions and denote states of being, such as delusion, euphoria, sadness, grief, trauma (Silvan Tompkins). There is also the strand of affective neuroscience of theoretical and medical work that examines the affective nature of culture, brain and body relations (Antonio Damasio, Francisco Varela, Joseph LaDoux). While these terms of 'affect' are used to chart corporeal, neurological, subjective responses, and perceptual practices, Deleuze takes a different approach (although overlaps in methodologies occur, for example the Spinozist core in Damasio's approach). The Deleuzian sense of affect is to be distinguished as a philosophical concept that indicates the result of the interaction of bodies; an affective product. In his study of contemporary society, Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, Brian Massumi makes the crucial distinction between affect and its purported synonym emotion, arguing that this is an inappropriate association, since 'emotion and affect - if affect is intensity follow different logics and pertain to different orders' (M 2002: 27).Deleuze engages and extends Baruch Spinoza and Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophical conceptions of affect in order to describe the processes of becoming, transformation through movement and over duration. Through his work on David Hume, Henri Bergson, and work with Félix Guattari, and his books on the Cinema, Deleuze rejects the philosophical tradition of passive reﬂection, and the value-laden associations of ascribing emotions to subjective experience or perceptions. For Deleuze, affect can produce a sensory or abstract result and is physically and temporally produced. It is determined by chance and organisation and it consists of a variety of factors that include geography, biology, meteorology, astronomy, ecology and culture. Reaction is a vital part of the Deleuzian concept of affective change. For instance, describing Spinoza's study of the transformation of a body, a thing, or a group of things over a period of space and time, Deleuze (with Guattari) writes in A Thousand Plateaus: 'Affects are becomings' (DG 1987: 256). Affect expresses the modification of experiences as independent things of existence, when one produces or recognises the consequences of movement and time for (corporeal, spiritual, animal, mineral, vegetable, and, or conceptual) bodies. Affect is an experiential force or a power source, which, through encounters and mixes with other bodies (organic or inorganic), the affect becomes enveloped by affection, becoming an idea, and as such, as Deleuze describes, it can compel systems of knowledge, history, memory, and circuits of power.Deleuze's conception of affect develops through his entire oeuvre. In his study of Hume in Empiricism and Subjectivity, Deleuze discusses the linkages between ideas, habits of thought, ethics, patterns, and repetitions of systems; all the while describing the relationship between affect and difference in terms of temporally specific subjective situations. Empiricism and Subjectivity also signals Deleuze's interest in Bergson, a key thinker in the Deleuzian development of a theory of affect. Bergson's book Matter and Memory addresses the corporeal condition of what he terms 'affection' in relation to perception (B 1994). Deleuze also engages the work of Spinoza and draws extensively on Spinoza's address of affections and affect in terms of a modality of 'taking on' something in the Ethics (1677). In his essay 'On the Superiority of Anglo-American Literature', Deleuze describes affect as verbs becoming events - naming affects as perceivable forces, actions, and activities. In relation to art in What is Philosophy? he (with Guattari) describes affects as more than sensate experience or cognition. Through art, we can recognise that affects can be detached from their temporal and geographic origins and become independent entities.In accounting for experience in a non-interpretive manner, Deleuze's conception of affect exposed the limits of semiotics that tends to structure emotional responses to aesthetic and physical experiences. Undeniably a romantic concept within his discussion of the regulation and production of desire and energy within a social field, Deleuze's writings of affect and affection nevertheless enable a material, and therefore political critique of capital and its operations. Within a Deleuzian framework, affect operates as a dynamic of desire within any assemblage to manipulate meaning and relations, inform and fabricate desire, and generate intensity - yielding different affects in any given situation or event. Perception is a nonpassive continual moulding, driven and given by affect.Closely linked to Deleuze (and Guattari's) concepts of 'multiplicity', 'experience' and 'rhizomatics', the concept of 'affect' should also be considered in relation to the concepts of 'arborescence' and 'lines of flight.' Situated as part of the Deleuzian 'and' of becoming, the molecular thresholds of bodies and things as events are described by Deleuze in terms of affective happenings; occasions where things and bodies are altered. To this end, affect describes the forces behind all forms of social production in the contemporary world, and these affective forces' ethical, ontological, cognitive, and physiological powers. In Deleuze's singular and collaborative work with Guattari, affective forces are depicted as reactive or active (following Nietzsche), tacit or performed. As Deleuze portrays it, affective power can be utilised to enable ability, authority, control and creativity. Embrace me.Connectives§ active / reactive§ becoming§ rhizome
The Deleuze dictionary. Revised Edition Edited by Adrian Parr . 2010.